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An upbeat and visually dramatic documentary of children's ballet, First Position displays the potential of the human spirit when fostered at a young age.
All Critics (74)
| Top Critics (29)
| Fresh (69)
| Rotten (5)
A blandly feelgood documentary about aspiring young ballet dancers.
Undeniably effective as drama, as we ponder the varying degrees of ambition and talent driving these young people to push their bodies beyond the limit in the hope of grasping a future in the spotlight.
It does a great job developing its characters through its visuals - these are superphysical kids - and honing in on family dynamics.
If you have a yearning to feel awkward, inadequate and lazy, watching the whirling teenage (and preteen) talents in director Bess Kargman's First Position will do the trick.
When it's over, you won't remember so much about who won and who lost. Instead, what remains is the expression on a young dancer's face, reflected in a mirror: showing the joy of being in love with what you do.
For someone (like me) who has never been to a ballet, the talent of these teens and tweens is a revelation.
Whilst the filmmaking is pedestrian, the dancers -- to paraphrase Joan's teacher -- "fly"... Kargman may not earn first position, but these dancers most certainly do.
This movie is, hands down, one of the most beautiful, informative and satisfying documentaries I have ever seen.
First Position may be too slight, too sincere and too plain faced to truly invest in. But for those in need of something that bestows a voice both unto children with a clear focus and passion, it succeeds.
It is edge-of-the-seat stuff by the close of the film, and not just because of the high stakes in play for all involved.
If you've got tweens and teens who are into dancing, be it in classes or around the house, it offers a pleasant cultural alternative to the other holiday entertainment on offer.
The joy of watching lies in the purity of the dancer's passion.
Even though it's predictable, First Position is an insightful film into the lives of aspiring ballet dancers. Upbeat, funny, involving, and precise, First Position is a window into the competitive world of the world class ballet. Getting to know all the dancers is a lot of fun and we go through their journey with them, we understand their pain, their trials and tribulations, and in the end, we can't help but clap and cheer for them. A great time at the theatre, or a great window about getting into the professional world of ballet dancing.
Six kids (9-19) whose lives are completely devoted to dance compete in a New York City contest with the best dancers from across the globe, with scholarships and professional careers depending on one performance. Rah-rah inspirational stuff aimed at dance moms; it only shows its subjects from their most forgiving angles. It might have had more impact if it focused entirely on the most interesting contestant (an adopted war orphan from Sierra Leone).
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